Conkers for cake!

Chestnut stuffing has been on Irish Christmas dinner tables forever but the chestnut had never made its way onto the everyday table, well not mine anyway! The appearance of the British supermarket chains over here in recent years has meant that more and more standard Bristish ingredients have become available, and chestnuts are one of them.

Our amazing dinner at La Noisette in London last year had been finished with a pot of chestnut yoghurt and a chestnut chip cookie, which was the best of both I'd ever tasted! So I'd been intrigued by the chestnut as a sweet since and was always on the look out for a recipe in which to use it.

I had bought a couple of tins of chestnuts, both whole and pureed, in Tesco and so was happy to see a recipe for it in Domestic Goddess. With my brother and his fiancee calling, and knowing he has a fondness for the chestnut, I jumped at the chance to a)impress and b) use up the tins lurking at the back of my cupboard. I also had a packet of glaced chestnuts I'd bought in Italy which I knew would look great as a decoration!

Everyone loved this unusual cake, except me! I decided that chestnuts just don't do it for me, and the texture in this cake didn't help. It is a beautiful looking cake, perfect for the chestnut lover, but for those not too fond - don't bother!

Nigella Lawsons Chocolate Chestnut Cake

you'll need

435g Tin of pureed chestnuts
125g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence if thats all you have)
1 tbsp rum (dark if you have it, I didn't so used white)
6 large eggs, seperated
250g melted dark chocolate
pinch salt
50g caster sugar
25g Light muscovado


Preheat your oven to 180c and grease and line a 23 inch springform cake tin.

Beat the chestnut puree with the butter and then add the vanilla, rum, egg yolks, and the cooled melted chocolate, beat like heal with an electric mixer until the chestnut puree is smooth. Whip the egg whites with the salt until frothy and then add the caster sugar until it becomes glossy and forms soft peaks, sprinkle in the muscovado and whisk gently. Fold in to the chestnut batter until mixed. Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 45/55 minutes until the surface is dry and has deep cracks. Take it out and leave it to completely cool in the tin. Then pop the cake tin and unpeel the lining from the sides of the cake. I left it on the springform base - this cake is so soft and squidgy you'd be mad to attempt to move it!!

Sprinkle with icing sugar and glace chestnuts if you have any... Serve with cream!

Nigella recommends eating this plain but we enjoyed it with raspberries and cream more than plain, it is a personal thing!

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